Why is it important to Update WordPress, Plugins, and Themes? How to do it?

As one of the leading CMS systems in the world, WordPress is able to satisfy the different needs of different people. For that reason, you will be able to find many plugins and themes that will allow you to customize your website to your liking. But installing a theme or a plugin is just the first step since it’s very important to regularly update WordPress, plugins, and themes if you want to have a fully-functional website. Then again, a lot of people actually fail to see the importance behind performing timely updates.

The first thing those in doubt need to know is that these updates keep your website functional and relevant. They are of crucial importance for WordPress website maintenance. Think about it – you are frequent in updating your mobile apps and your operating system. So why would you think that you should fall behind on maintaining something that has such an importance for your business?

The three main reasons why you need to update WordPress, plugins, and themes

If remaining relevant and keeping up with your competition isn’t enough of a motivation for you to perform these updates, then the following three reasons will certainly push things in the right direction.

The word update written on a blackboard.
If the time for an update comes, don’t skip it.

1. Increased security and bug fixes

The WordPress source code is readily available to the general public, and that means that it doesn’t take too long for hackers to discover vulnerabilities and take advantage of them. To counter this, WordPress developers are always busy coming up with new versions and updates that will fix bugs and increase security.

And once you hear the shocking fact that as much as 83% of hacked WordPress websites hadn’t been updated, we have no doubt you will never again forget to check whether there are any updates available. WordPress security should definitely not be taken lightly since it is one of the most important things for your entire business.

2. Updates can sometimes come with new features

Take a look at the list of installed plugins on your website. Most of them are there because you liked the added features and functionalities the plugins came with. Some, like WordPress review plugins, help you boost your online revenue. Others, like anti-spam plugins, help keep your website safe. So if you like the original versions of WordPress, its themes, and plugins, you will most certainly like the updated ones.

A notebook with an inscription - something needs to change.
WordPress core, plugins, and theme updates usually bring a change for the better in terms of features and functionality.

Just think of all the new features you can gain by switching to the latest version of WordPress or its themes and plugins. Especially since the process will take so little of your time. But more on that in a few minutes.

3. Improved speed

Website speed is a very important factor when it comes to SEO and your ranking. It has been known that page visitors will usually leave if it takes more than three seconds to load. People are pressed for time, and you have to ensure you improve user experience by ensuring your website loads properly. The good thing about new WordPress releases is that they sometimes come with small improvements to the speed of your website. So why not receive maximum performance benefits if you already have the chance? And it can all be done with a few clicks!

How to update WordPress, plugins, and themes?

Arguably, the best part of the story is the fact that WordPress is super easy to update. When you log into your Dashboard, you are going to see notifications informing you which updates are available at the time. And even if you don’t log in regularly, you should still receive e-mail notifications. Although, in order for the latter scenario to happen, you will need to install a plugin such as WP Updates Notifier.

If you are going to rush to install the aforementioned plugin, why not review the list of already installed plugins and themes while you’re there? If you find some that you don’t consider to be essential or even important, feel free to uninstall them. It’s generally advisable not to overdo it with the plugins. After all, the fewer plugins and themes you have, the fewer updates you will need to perform.

The update process

To start the journey, begin by reading the release notes. This will give you an idea of what the updates will change and improve. Then, if you have the chance, it would be best to test the update on a development site. If anything fails, you will have the chance to troubleshoot the problem before going live with the update.

A man in a suit getting ready to update WordPress, plugins, and themes.
A few clicks stand between you and an updated version of your website.

The third step is a mandatory one, and that’s to back up your WordPress website. With a backup at hand, you will have a recent restore point to return to in case anything goes wrong. Only then should you update the WordPress core, theme, and/or plugin. Once the update process is done, it’s the right time to test and review the changes. A good place to start is by focusing on the changes which you read about in the release notes. And voila – you have an updated and relevant version of WordPress and its themes and plugins.

The bottom line

WordPress core, plugin, and theme updates aren’t a mandatory action, but they are certainly a desirable one. Their role is to improve the functionality of your website, increase security, as well as fix bugs, and improve website speed. Considering the fact they come with so many benefits attached to them, there’s no reason for you to feel any hesitation. Especially not when you take into consideration how easy it is to update WordPress, plugins, and themes. So keep an eye out for the latest updates that will become available. In the fast-changing world of WordPress, we have no doubt that it will happen sooner than you think.

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